For the past week or so the comic strip Fox Trot has been running a series in which the characters imagine what anti-Apple, anti-Netscape, anti-world special code might be in the recently leaked Windows source code. A corporate environment that could lead to the petty blocking of searches for a potentially competitive product might just make the comic strip not so funny.I first saw it on Slashdot: A Czech Web site reported that\u00a0the MSN search function was blocking searches for the string "xfree86." If true, that would be stunningly petty. Well, it was true, but it looks like that is not all the butterfly's search engine is up to.I went to\u00a0the search engine\u00a0to try for myself, and sure enough when\u00a0I looked for "xfree86"\u00a0I got back a message that said:"You have entered a search term that is likely to return adult content."Searches for xfree*, where * was everything from 80 to 89 other than 86 produced reasonable results but where * equaled 86 I got that same message.Just what is XFree86, and why would the overly protective butterfly block access? According to the\u00a0XFree86 Project home page, XFree86 is "a freely redistributable open source implementation of the X Window System that runs on Unix and Unix-like (like Linux, the BSDs and Solaris x86 series) operating systems and OS\/2." That does not seem all that likely to threaten Microsoft's future, even if traditionally "the XFree86 Project has focused on the Intel x86-based platforms." So I guess it was an excess of petty zeal that caused someone at MSN to tweak things in this way.When it came time to write this column I found out that it had not taken long for the Slashdot story to get the tweak removed. Searches for "xfree86" nowreturn almost 230,000 responses with the XFree86 Project home page as the top response.I tried a few searches on MSN search, Google and Yahoo. (I tried Ask Jeeves but it does not report how many hits it gets.)A few searches and their hit counts: (MSN=M, Google=G, Yahoo=Y)"xfree86" - M: 229,250; G: 2,350,000; Y: 1,270,000"microsoft" - M: 21,456,004; G: 70,000,000; Y: 104,000,000"macintosh" - M: 4,142,464; G: 12,300,000; Y: 21,500,000"scott bradner" - M: 5,827; G: 23,000; Y: 40,600"bill gates" - M: 60 or 802,509, G: 2,650,000; Y: 3,750,000The "60" is not a typo. The first few times I searched for "bill gates" I got 60 hits. Later, the same search returned more than 800,000. Looks like the butterfly is being a bit tricky.Based on these few tests I'm not going to recommend what search site you should use. But you can guess what will not be my default search site.For the past week or so the comic strip\u00a0Fox Trot\u00a0has been running a series in which the characters imagine what anti-Apple, anti-Netscape, anti-world special code might be in the recently leaked Windows source code. A corporate environment that could lead to the petty blocking of searches for a potentially competitive product might just make the comic strip not so funny.Disclaimer: Based on a search for "humor" on Harvard's home page, Harvard must be a funny place. Not everyone would agree, but the above attempt at educational humor is my own.